Translate
Search
School Logo

St Mary Magdalene C of E Primary School

Love to Learn, Learn to Love

Get in touch

Irresistible Learning Curriculum for History, Geography, Art and DT

At St Mary Magdalene, we believe that the Curriculum is a whole learning experience offered and celebrated by the school. It is not just the lessons and activities which are planned and taught, it also includes the ethos for learning i.e. the attitudes and loving four values we expect implicitly in all lessons through our Learning 10 behaviours. At St Mary Magdalene Primary School, we aim to teach our children how to grow into independent learners, who can also work and co-operate with others while developing their knowledge and skills, so they can achieve their full potential.

 

Our curriculum is carefully designed to meet the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum.  As a Christian school, we believe that Christ has called us in every aspect of our working together to live out our ‘Loving Four’ values Honesty, Respect, Responsibility and Aspiration. Opportunities to develop in these four areas are seized throughout our curriculum and are demonstrated through pupil work and classroom experience.

 

Vision

To educate and develop all children in a happy, caring community, nurtured by Christian values, that place individuals at heart and allow everyone to shine.

 

How we aim to achieve our vision

Through the effective delivery of a coherently planned and sequenced curriculum which show opportunities to deliberately practise activities that will in time, embed and deepen knowledge thus enabling children to make connections between topics and build a conceptual understanding.

Intent

 

Ensuring our curriculum, through our three curriculum drivers (possibilities, initiative, community), is full, ambitious and designed to give all learners, particularly the most disadvantaged and those with SEND needs, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. Our curriculum drivers provides a broad range of experiences and opportunities to teach the context of the curriculum through pupil’s lives or experiences.

 

Our three curriculum drivers shape, personalise and underpin our ‘Irresistible Learning’ curriculum, bring about the aims and values of our school, and respond to the particular needs of our curriculum.

 

These are:

 

Possibilities– which helps our pupils to build aspirations and know available possibilities for their future lives.

Community- which helps pupils to be an active, responsible member of our school, our church, the locality, our country and the world.

Initiative– which helps our pupils grow as independent learners and develops our children as subject specialists.

Retrieval practice

 

As a school which is focused on the importance of retrieval and embedding learning into long-term memory, we plan our curriculum with the below key messages in mind.

Teaching needs to build up pupils’ store of knowledge in long-term memory because progress is knowing more and remembering more of the curriculum.

 

Through:

  • our well sequenced lessons with building knowledge into application;
  • interleaving concepts and knowledge;
  • blocking topics to build foundations in knowledge but revisiting knowledge concepts through our knowledge categories and threshold tasks;
  • meaningful links to other aspects of the curriculum through our Irresistible learning approach.

 

Careful curriculum thinking ensures that the right components are embedded in long-term memory to enable pupils to perform more complex tasks.

 

Through:

  • revisiting our knowledge categories;
  • our threshold tasks where children link to prior learning and compare concepts through history e.g. comparing society in the civilization they have just explored to ones they have previously learnt about in previous year groups. This can be seen in our sequencing through year groups document where we promote transfer of knowledge to new tasks/concepts/contexts/situations;
  • our POP (proof of progress tasks).

 

Lesson activities should focus thinking on the learning goals and avoid overloading working memory.

 

 Through:

  • focusing on specific knowledge categories when exploring topics rather than just overloading with facts about a topic.

 

Fluency or automaticity requires ‘overlearning’ through repeated recall – taking pupils well beyond the point of accuracy.

 

Through:

  • variety of question types, tasks;
  • retrieval practice throughout lessons and through spaced retrieval (after a few weeks, last term, last year);
  • through threshold tasks (repeated opportunities to practice and revisit concepts to develop fluency).

 

Expertise (the capacity for skilful cognitive performance) depends on rich and detailed structures of relevant knowledge stored in long-term memory.  

 

Through:

  • practising activities to develop retrieval strength not just retrieval storage. Developing fluency of conceptual understanding and not just remembering facts;
  • interleaving concepts and subjects so they revisited regularly.

Organisation

 

We have structured a coherently planned Irresistible Learning curriculum so it is consistent throughout KS1 and KS2. Each year group has:

1. A curriculum map/ overview which states clearly the breadth of what needs to be covered.

2. Mid- term planning which shows the ‘threshold concepts’ (which allow children to think as historians, geographers, artists, designers and develop children as subject specialists) and the criteria for progression within the threshold concepts through Chris Quigley milestone objectives. Activities are planned alongside the milestone objectives where there is a strong emphasis on a balance of:

  • the acquisition of key semantic knowledge in order for pupils to understand key geographical, historical, art  and other subject concepts;
  • providing vocabulary in order for children to be able to articulate their understanding of subject content;
  • building the strength of retrieval from long term memory (frequently and for all pupil abilities) through a range and balance of retrieval practice types – spaced and in lessons as learning strategies;
  • providing opportunities to practise and apply skills (procedural knowledge).
  • ensuring that when exploring the Arts children learn from designers, artists; take inspiration from the Greats, styles and periods, combining this inspiration with the practise of techniques when designing, planning and making final pieces.

These are all shown in carefully well- sequenced plans which show that knowledge and skills are taught incrementally so children can progress through the school’s curriculum.   (See examples in the appendices below).

3. A progression document which shows clear criteria for depth of understanding through our bronze, silver, gold and platinum metal system.

4. Weekly planning which shows how milestone objectives are differentiated to provide depth in learning. Children challenge themselves with the levels they feel confident to achieve and this is scaffolded through our use of a metal system. We use higher order questioning and higher order vocabulary, through the use of Bloom’s, to regularly form our bronze, silver, gold and platinum outcomes which reassure pupils that challenging learning is good and they are more likely to be remembered.

5. An assessment system which tracks children’s progress towards achieving depth of learning in the milestones.

 

Staff, pupil and parent directories are updated yearly so that staff can draw on the strengths, talents and expertise of others to maximise learning opportunities where possible.

 

Implementation

 

The Curriculum is the whole learning experience offered by the school.  It is not just the lessons and activities which are planned and taught.  It also includes the ethos for learning i.e. the attitudes and loving four values we expect implicitly in all lessons through our learning 10 behaviours. At St Mary Magdalene Primary School, we aim to teach our children how to grow into independent learners, who can also work and co-operate with others while developing their knowledge and skills, so they can achieve their full potential.

 

In Reception and Nursery, the children have their own set of learning behaviours that we believe matter most and help them to be successful learners. These are referred to as our ‘Learning Gems’ They consist of:

 

Solve my own problem.

 

Work with and help others.

 

Work hard.

 

Work on my own.

 

Talk about my learning.

 

Try to find things out.

 

Keep trying when things are tricky.

 

We encourage them to develop and demonstrate these through their work and play. They are a set of behaviours for the children to aspire towards and activities within the EYFS are designed to encourage the children’s development towards competency and confidence in these.

 

Our learning 10 behaviours which we believe children should display when engaging with the curriculum, consist of:

 

Nurture  Enthusiasm  Reflective

 

Independence  Inquisitive  Risk taker

 

Problem Solver  High expectations

 

Perseverance  Collaboration

 

The curriculum should be seen as much in terms of experience as of the knowledge and skills that children should acquire. It should also be equally concerned with personal and faith development, positive behaviour and relationships.

 

The curriculum is designed to be creative, challenging and inspiring; the children are inspired through a range of themes, topics and independent learning activities.  The school utilises the appropriate documentation, including the National Curriculum and the Early Years Foundation Stage documentation to ensure learning matches national requirements, whilst children enjoy learning which is irresistible and engage their interests.

 

The school’s irresistible learning curriculum is based on the following principles:

 

  • Interleaving - sequencing learning within other learning- allowing time to recall and retrieve specific learning to embed understanding.
  • Conscious connections – making meaningful links between different subjects, practicing basic skills in English and Maths.
  • Longitudinal learning – so that concepts and objectives can be revisited overtime.
  • A text-led approach – developing deeper understanding of historical contexts and the texts explored allow children to see the world through the eyes of different characters, which may include significant religious leaders.

Developing Subject Specialists

Impact

 

The impact of our curriculum is that by the end of each milestone, the vast majority of pupils have sustained mastery of the milestone they have worked in.  Some pupils will have a greater depth of understanding of the threshold concepts within the milestone.  We track carefully through our assessment system to ensure pupils are on track to reach the expectations of our curriculum.

Conscious Connections: Examples of our Milestone Maps

Conscious Connections: Examples of our Milestone Breadth Maps

Examples of knowledge webs- taken from Chris Quigley Curriculum Companions

Parents/carers are viewed as active supporters of learning in our school.  They are encouraged to be part of school life through a range of activities which take place in the stunning starts, marvellous middles and fantastic finishes of our irresistible learning themes. Through our curriculum drivers we have developed a parent directory so that we draw on their experiences and expertise to maximise creative learning opportunities. We use both the parent directory and passport when considering the stunning starts, marvellous middles and fabulous finishes to our topics.

 

Parents/carers have regular contact with staff and are able to discuss their child’s progress on a regular basis. Additionally, the school requests that every parent/carer support their children by working with them at home on activities in their learning log which encourage children to present their own way.

 

Slideshows

Top